The Banquet


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One Minute Silence “Food For Your Brain”



It feels mighty good to belong. Tell me you don’t wish to be a part of something bigger than yourself and I’ll gladly snack down on my hat stand and every last Trilby on it. I take a huge steaming number two on the suggestion that we should look out solely for number one and feel immense pity for anyone who subscribes to this theory. It took a considerable length of time for me to learn how to love myself again after walking out on my old life and, when the time came for me to pin up a mug shot in my locker once more, only one thought populated my think tank. If I can look dead in my own eye and not wish to pummel myself into pathetic patty, then would it not make sense to search for others who can demonstrate similar self-restraint? It’s funny, I spend the majority of my existence in solo mode and the lion’s share of my interactions are one-sided as writing is a very intimate affair and one of the only pastimes that doesn’t require two to tango. But loneliness seldom actually comes into it as I care enough to share and that leads me directly to the thoroughfare.



noun: a public road from one place to another


Suddenly I’m not nearly so alone. Let’s not hustle the hermit just yet; should I suffer an uninvited myocardial infarction where I’m currently perched, then I’d likely be stone cold before a solitary soul was a solitary raised eyebrow the wiser. But as long as I’ve got the Crimson Quill inked up good and some blank parchment lying around, then there’s no reason to hit up my glamorous desktop assistant Cortana to deal me in for a round of Solitaire just yet. If there were any way audience participation could play a part in my prose, then I’d round up the usual suspects before you could say “one cannot be betrayed if one has no people” and we’d have ourselves a goddamn free-for-all. Naturally I’d be the one in the middle of the line-up; sticking out like a sore thumb and wearing the T-shirt that boldly proclaims → I’M WITH SOZE ← but I’m guessing you get the general gist. Alas, technology hasn’t quite gotten us there yet, so I’ll have to be content with bouncing my ideas off any gastropods that cohabit my office/tool shed. But it’s the thought that counts right?

You see, while I appreciate the hell out of my readership, it just seems like such an unsentimental title for a group of positive souls who dedicate their hard-earned time to entertaining my affectionate drivel. Friends is a serviceable enough term I suppose but we all know how they like to come and go willy-nilly. For every fresh acquaintance we make in life, two invariably fall by the wayside, and this leaves us in a constant state of negative equity at the buddy bank. Thus I’d much rather refer to you all as my brood, if you agree to these terms, as I’m way past drawing the line at blood relatives alone for those who truly matter. Besides, who doesn’t wish to be part of a bona fide clan? I mean, think of the family barbecues we could partake in. Who gives an owl’s hoot if Uncle Les gets a tad gropey after six cans of Beavertown – Gamma Ray? Or if Auntie Maude’s latest course of facial electrolysis failed to remove the bushy brow from her top lip? The main thing is that we’re all together under one umbrella and therefore not dictated to by the weather.

I’m all about the group hug me. Just to stave off any awkward questions, that object digging in your ribs right now is the Crimson Quill and I swear blind it’s not pre-loaded. Vague indecencies aside however, you have to admit this is nice right? Granted, not everyone is so au fait with the touchy-feelies, but that’s where the quick release back pat comes in ever so handy. Should the maximum amount of squeeze have been extracted from any given embrace, then feel free to tap out and prepared for the Rohypnol I slipped into the punch bowl earlier to kick in. Needless to say I’d do no such thing; when a single taser zap appears to encourage a similar level of inertia. Actually I wouldn’t even stretch that far as the only person on earth I wish to hold against their will is Justin Bieber, and even then, ten minutes alone with the little pube should be more than sufficient. No you’re pretty much free to come and go as you so wish. Fret not as I won’t take it to heart if you do, honestly I won’t. Slightly off-topic but I don’t suppose you could pass me a tissue could you? My Crimson Quill has leaked in my pocket. Ahem.

Okay so we’ve established I’m a shameless hugger and also that I graduated from the “more the merrier” school of thought, with colorful flight no less. But there’s still the teeny-weeny matter of sending out the RSVPs and waiting patiently for their return so I can set out the correct number of table napkins, right? Actually, wrong. Mark Zuckerberg may be able to sleep at night on his bed of gold bullion, limiting us to a certain number of guests; but I favor open invites for each all-you-can-eat buffet I lay on. Whether any bugger turns up or not is irrelevent(ish); what matters most is that there’s a clockwork soup kitchen on hand any time you grow vaguely peckish or at all curious. I apologize unreservedly in advance for my appalling table manners; not to mention the faintly astringent aftertaste of the bar nuts. But I’ll have you know I always wash my hands thoroughly after visiting the little boy’s room and wouldn’t dream of tampering with the snack platter. Must be one of the others. Just saying. Chocolate-coated pretzel anyone?

So whaddya say we kick this banquet off with a toast? I hear that’s customary at any sit-down meal and, though I haven’t prepared one in advance of today’s function, I’m sure I can rustle up a few choice words to commence the festivities. If it’s anything like the movies, then tapping my glass with a dessert spoon should be greeted with the enthusiastic silence I’m aiming for. Failure to come up with something witty and/or intellectual would likely result in the lobbing of vegetables and I’m starting to regret the asparagus tips now, you know. Therefore, for as tempting as it may be to holler “rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub” in falsetto or “dig in bitches” baritone-style, I shall keep this short, sweet and as snappy as an alligator-skin clutch bag on the first day of the sales. Should it appear that I’ve outstayed my welcome, then feel free to clear your throat in as sarcastic a manner as you please. But I’d thank you to cover your mouth with your serviette as you do as I’m sure we could all do without the bonus pesto. Rightio then, here goes something like nothing. Heaven help us all.


My dear friends and countrymen please lend me your ears
I’ll have them straight back good as new after just one rousing “cheers”


The meal I’ve lovingly prepared in your honour this day
set me back almost forty G’s so I’d thank you all to stay


Be you veggie or vegan carnivore through and through
I’d like to think that you will find I’ve catered this for you


There’ll be prime rib and fritters too of that there is no doubt
but I cannot promise mushrooms as those shits freak me right out


I’ll gladly turn a blind eye should you insist in belching
but table manners dictate I draw a vague line at felching


Besides it’s not like finger foods will be in scant supply
I even went to all the fuss of baking you a pie


Fresh apples from the orchard should be more than finger licking
It’s piping hot so I’d advise that Jim don’t stick his dick in


Enough of that malarkey I don’t mean to be distasteful
For what we are about to eat may we be truly grateful


I’m aware that it’s considered incredibly rude to speak with your mouth full, but now that we’ve addressed those grumbling bellies, what do you say we engage in a spot of appropriate dinner table conversation? Contrary to extensive recent research, I can in fact act with a slither of decorum when such is required and have absolutely no intention of putting anyone off their honey-glazed gammon this evening. Instead, I propose we discuss the real reason why I threw this snazzy little soirée in the first place. You may recall I touched upon the topic of family before getting shamefully sidetracked and it is there I wish to steer us back to before our meals go cold. You see, that’s how I view you all – family. We may not be bound by blood per se, but that’s not to say we ain’t bound. And not a solitary day passes where I don’t feel utterly blessed to play a minor role in something truly magnificent.

Grueheads – you may have heard this term banded about as it’s a collective title that sums us all up in a nutshell. When I started out back in 2013, I was blown away by the overwhelming response and decided on this catchy mantle as the common thread between most of us appeared to be horror. Show me an aficionado of this genre who doesn’t hanker for a spot of gushing grue and I’ll happily reveal my beard made of bees. Branding happens to be one of my strong suits, so I conjured up Grueheads on the fly and rolled it out to the masses post-haste. And wouldn’t you know it? It only cottoned on. Better yet, it seemed to actually mean something. Bleeding hearts from wide and far began to head to Rivers of Grue for the purpose of communal healing and this was all the evidence I required to place every last one of my eggs directly into this basket. Writing has since saved my life on more occasions than Charlie Sheen has scratched his inner groin and I owe my unshakable belief largely to present company.

The thing is, for one reason or another, I think I lost sight of what being a Gruehead actually means. Indeed, I’d pretty much stopped using the word when a single gesture from my sweet sister, Kreepazoid Kelly, reminded me just why I created this collective umbrella in the first place. This glorious soul owned it with pride and suddenly it didn’t feel anything like as dead in the water. Since then I’ve been left repeatedly speechless by the outpouring of love and camaraderie between those committed to this cause and it no longer feels like a cuss word. Shame on me then for ever doubting it, although I’m not about to begin self-flagellating as all that dead horse flogging appears now to be paying dividends. Hence the lavish spread I’ve laid on for all those who never gave up believing in me. Granted, technology hasn’t yet advanced to the point where you can stream sushi or download dumplings, but it’s the thought that counts right? Besides, there are so many other wonderful ways to provide nourishment and I’ve got your cordon bleu right here at the very tip of my quill should you ever be feeling peckish. I like to call it food for thought.

Anyroad, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sitting here chewing the fat with such a glorious collective and would like to believe we’ve all grown closer as a result of this evening’s banquet. I’ll never spurn the opportunity to learn and, thanks to the Grueheads and their penchant towards goodwill to all men, women, and those currently in transition, I’ll follow curriculum to the edge of the world and back again. That is to say, I’m all fucking in. Whether fast food fancies or something more substantial, I’ll keep on rustling up dishes for as long as you can possibly stomach them and each will be garnished with great care and, more importantly, love. Unless The Brady Bunch were lying through their china whites, it’s all about family is it not? And with that in mind, who fancies giving me a hand with the washing up?.. Guys?.. Guys?.. If there’s any felching going on in that restroom, there’ll be penalties you know. And no sloppy seconds either. Couldn’t trouble you for a Bon Appétit could I?






  1. Fantastic! Validation must always come from within. Regardless, you are good enough. Keep writing and living, and enjoy the journey. As the old Chinese proverb says: Happiness is in the mind. And I have to remind myself of that on occasion as well. WRITE ON!

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